The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching, and although the excitement around this day pales in comparison to the other professional sports leagues, like the MLB, NHL and NBA, it doesn’t mean trades won’t take place among National Football League circles.
While most of the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base was enamored with the thought of trading Martavis Bryant upon his request, Mike Tomlin pumped the brakes pretty hard on these thoughts. However, the Steelers could still be players at the deadline, but Bryant isn’t going anywhere.
With that said, the first aspect of this equation to identify for the Steelers is a potential glaring need, mainly in the depth category. There aren’t many weaknesses on this team’s roster, and they aren’t going to give away high draft picks, or significant players, for a starter midway through the season. Football doesn’t work that way, but they could give away a lower draft pick, and/or a backup player of their own for another depth player.
The main position of need the Steelers should be focused on is offensive tackle. Marcus Gilbert has been hampered by a nagging hamstring injury throughout the season, and it has forced Chris Hubbard into starting duty. Hubbard has done admirably filling in, but it leaves the team with a gaping hole behind Hubbard at offensive tackle. The team had thoughts of Jerald Hawkins filling this role, but he is consistently a game day inactive, has been injured this year, and hasn’t impressed much this season.
Therefore, the team could certainly pull the trigger on a backup tackle for a team who could be searching for a wide receiver or maybe even an outside linebacker.
There are a number of backup tackles who could be on this list of players to keep an eye on, but it ultimately comes down to the team who would need what the Steelers have. What does this mean? If a team is looking for a wide receiver who could contribute right away, Justin Hunter could be a potential piece the team could move. If a team wanted a special teams linebacker, and a veteran outside linebacker, Arthur Moats, who has been inactive the past two weeks, is also someone the team could consider parting ways with.
At the end of the day, the Steelers are likely going to do absolutely nothing. They have a 5-2 team, Gilbert isn’t lost for the rest of the season, and Hubbard provides a quality swing tackle, and extra tight end in ‘heavy’ packages, to help solidify the offensive line.
It is good the Steelers roster isn’t in shambles and they need to rely on trades, but the moves made prior to the season, acquiring Joe Haden, J.J. Wilcox and Vance McDonald, have made their need for additional players almost a moot point. Nonetheless, if there was a position the team could target, it would be at offensive tackle.